Communicative cues in the absence of a human interaction partner enhance 12-month-old infants' word learning.
Is infants' word learning boosted by nonhuman social agents? An on-screen virtual agent taught infants word-object associations in a setup where the presence of contingent and referential cues could be manipulated using gaze contingency. In the study, 12-month-old Japanese-learning children (N = 36) looked significantly more to the correct object when it was labeled after exposure to a contingent and referential display versus a noncontingent and nonreferential display. These results show that communicative cues can augment learning even for a nonhuman agent, a finding highly relevant for our understanding of the mechanisms through which the social environment supports language acquisition and for research on the use of interactive screen media.
Tsuji, S; Jincho, N; Mazuka, R; Cristia, A
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